We are once again featuring Eric Evans who is one of IT Central Station’s Expert Reviewers. Eric is a Senior Information Systems and Technology Manager at the 6th Marine Regiment Head Quarters. He has over 15 years of experience working with multi-disciplinary technology strategies and agile information systems management. Contact us if you would like to be one of our guest bloggers.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with a few leaders from various disciplines within IT. One of the biggest concerns that were voiced was the ability to effectively monitor the performance of their enterprise, systems and other assets. Having been in their position, I completely understood their frustration…one that’s played out almost daily in IT.
Yet, even in crisis situations, few IT leaders are able decipher the handwriting on the wall until it’s too late.
When the famous luxury ship Titanic struck the iceberg, it took two and a half hours to sink. But although the hull was ripped and water was rushing into the compartments, when the first lifeboat was launched, there were only 28 people in it, despite its capacity to hold 65. In life – like on the Titanic – there are only a few people who have the ability to discern the meaning of small events and have the courage to make a decision. The rest go down with the ship.
Monitoring performance should be a top priority for any organization because it allows us to make a transparent and objective evaluation of whether our process and project has been a success or not. Enterprise network management and monitoring – it’s not just routers, switches, and firewalls in today’s data centers. More than ever before, managing a network means managing devices and applications on the network. Across the world, network administrators are consolidating physical servers to VMware, monitoring Active Directory performance, troubleshooting VoIP phone systems, and more.
The implementation of a monitoring and evaluation plan will provide us with the information required to evaluate and demonstrate to stakeholders the success of our processes and projects. Communication of a process or project outcomes and success is a fundamental requirement of all processes and projects.
To coin a phrase that’s echoed by DOD leadership, ‘Inspect what you Expect’. In other words successful business management requires the ongoing monitoring of performance in order to generate data by which to judge the success or otherwise of specific strategies. Improvement in performance can only be realistically achieved when management is properly informed about current performance. To this end it is important to identify key performance indicators that enable management to monitor progress.
In our industry, uptime and availability are critical because downed services and systems can put lives at risk, in addition to costing money. It is our job and purpose to make sure that all services are up, running and healthy.
There are many tools on the market for monitoring performance; one that I have relied on heavily for years has been “SolarWinds”.
SolarWinds is a network monitoring tool that offers advanced fault and performance management functionality across critical IT resources such as routers, WAN links, switches, firewalls, VoIP call paths, physical servers, virtual servers, domain controllers & other IT infrastructure devices.
Further the network monitoring software, combines an easy-to-use interface that lets you quickly deploy the product for production and also apply your organization’s monitoring policies across multiple devices quickly.
Being able to quickly deploy a network monitoring tool is especially important to me, since I typically manage at least three networks at a minimum – often times in austere environments. SolarWinds, provide 24/7 network monitoring of devices which notifies my Help Desk when a critical event has occurred. This has allowed my teams identify, isolate and resolves issues/events more quickly.
Because data availability is critical to our decision makers and business operations, my team leverages SolarWinds as a central management platform for tracking all the connected resources on our networks and as an Asset Management capability.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the value that SolarWinds brought to our Incident Management program by giving my Help Desk the power to immediately visualize how everything is connected. Enabling, us to deliver high-value, cost-effective IT services that support our global businesses. Solar Winds solutions allow us to maximize our IT investments by protecting our critical data and systems. It empowers us to keep business activities moving forward at all times, helping the organization achieve its goals.
This was instrumental in the prevention of service outages and reduced down times significantly. Additionally our top-level decision makers were able to understand and capitalize on the strategic potential of information technology by integrating it into everything they do.
The business environment today offers few second chances for course correction.
Network uptime is a critical, and it’s the life blood of business operation. Our customers should be able to confidently rely on us to ensure that their mission-critical systems are available and running smoothly 24/7/365. Downtime means a loss of productivity, missed revenue opportunities, and potential brand damage.